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Posted Feb 16, 2010, 12:28 pm
Matt Brogan is a little dismayed by the lack of fan support at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Brogan, who was on the course Tuesday with his son, Brenden, 14, thinks more folks should come out to see the best golfers in the world. Daily tickets are still available for every day through the weekend, and a sellout is not expected.
"It's too bad Tucson won't wrap its arms and legs around this a little more," Brogen said while waiting for autographs at the practice green.
The Brogens have been out to the tournament at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, for each of the past three years - since the tournament moved to the Old Pueblo from Carlsbad, Calif.
Last year - when there also was no sellout - the tournament fell short of its goal of raising $1 million for local charities. Tournament Director WWade Dunagan is expecting a last-minute ticket sale surge, he sad.
Tourney puts world in World Championships
The field for this year's Match Play is among the most international ever. Nineteen countries are represented, including Northern Ireland (two players), Italy (two) and Argentina, Colombia, India and Thailand (one each).
Of the 64 competitors, 43 are from outside the United States. England follows the U.S. with nine golfers, followed by South Africa with five and Sweden with four.
Notable green-card golfers include Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who is only the second 20-year-old golfer in history to crack into the World Top 10 (he is ranked No. 8). Sergio Garcia of Spain is the other. McIlroy lost in last year's Match Play - his first U.S. Tour event - to eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy. The young phenom finished T-5.
Last year's Masters winner and colorful fan favorite Angel Cabrera is also in this year's field. Perhaps the Tour's heaviest smoker, Cabrera was ousted last year by Phil Mickelson in the first round.
Course new and improved
The Par 72, 7,849-yard Ritz-Carlton course is in super shape for the tournament. Recent rain left the fairways and rough lush, and the greens looking very healthy indeed.
Almost every green on the course was recontoured to allow for more hole positions and tougher rolls.
The greens are expected to be very fast, even by PGA Tour standards, making birdie putts - often the deciding factor in match play - tougher than in past years. ANd
Two fairway bunkers were removed from holes 4 and 9, and a bunker on No. 11 was made smaller.